The Difference Between Facebook Ads & Boosted Posts

Key takeouts

  • Decide on the goal of your Facebook advertising before you get started – this will affect the type of advertising used
  • If you want a simple way for your post to be seen and engaged with by more of your audience, you should try boosting it
  • If you are looking for advanced targeting and customisation, Facebook ads are the way to go

I often get questions from my clients on Facebook boosted posts and Facebook Ads; what’s the difference and when should I use one or the other? The answer to this question isn’t always an easy one. It really depends on what your goals are for advertising and what audiences you want to reach. Let’s start with boosted posts.

What is a boosted post?

A boosted post is the most basic advertising you can do on Facebook. They are created by allocating advertising budget to a post already on the businesses’ page. Using Fancies Flower’s Mothers’ Day post as an example below, you can see there is a ‘boost post’ option in the bottom right hand corner. Once this is clicked and the boost is approved by Facebook, more people will see this particular post in their news feed.

Boosted Facebook Post (from the business page)

boosted facebook post

The post on its own would only reach a very small portion of your current audience which could be as little as 1%!

Boosting the post allows you to ensure a much larger audience of your choice sees the post in their news feed.

Boosted posts are typically used when the goal is to achieve audience engagement such as post likes, shares and comments.

However, if you’re looking for a more customised promotion option, this is where Facebook Ads might work better for you.

What are Facebook Ads?

Facebook ads are a more advanced way to advertise on Facebook and will require a Facebook ad manager account.

Facebook ads offer the greatest number of options for advertisers and the type of ad you choose to use will depend on what the goal of your campaign is.  These options include likes, clicks to website, app installs, app engagement, website conversions, event responses, offer claims, video views & local awareness.

Another benefit to running ads over boosted posts is the ability to add an optional call to action button promoting actions such as ‘shop now’, ‘sign up’, ‘download’ and ‘contact us’ to name a few.

As you can see below, there is an example of a Boosted Post Ad and a Right Hand Side Ad for Fancies Flowers. Within the Facebook ad console you will also find a boost post option. This often confuses people as it isn’t immediately clear that there is a difference between boosting a post from the page or the ad console. While boosting a post either way will look the same to your audience, boosting posts through the ad manager is a step up from what you can do directly from your business page.

Boosted Post Ad

boosted post ad                                                       

Right Hand Side Ad

right hand side ad

The main difference for advertisers is that boosted post ads have more targeting, which you can see in the quick reference guide at the end of this post, as well as the ability to create it from scratch in the ad console and not have it displayed on the Facebook page as a post (also called unpublished, dark or ghost posts).

Still working out which one is right for you?

The first step is to ensure you have a clear objective for what you want to achieve, who you want to reach and where you want the ads to show up. Take a look at my quick reference guide below on what features each option has.



Angie Campbell

Senior Digital Account Manager

As a Senior Digital Account Manager for Reload Media, Angie is the key contact between clients and internal marketing teams and is responsible for client satisfaction.